Do you earn an allowance? Do you sometimes get money for special occasions like your birthday or a holiday? If so, it's time to start thinking about how to save some of that money for the future!
- Figure out a plan. Think about how much money you earn (through birthdays, allowance or extra work you do around the house), and make a plan. Instead of spending all of the money as you get it, save some part of it each time.
- Set a goal. Is there something big you've been dying to buy, but you never seem to have enough money? Is there something you know you'll want when you are a lot older? If so, set a savings goal. Instead of buying something new each week, figure out how much money you have to save to reach your goal and stick to it.
- Open a savings account. A savings account can be really great because a bank will give you money (called interest) just for keeping your money in the account. That's right, you'll make money just for having money. A savings account is a safe place to keep your money and you can easily check on it to see how much is there. When you're ready to spend it, it's not hard to take it out either! Here are some things to do before you open the account:
- Talk to your parents about opening a savings account for you.
- Make sure you do some research first. See which bank pays you the highest amount of interest for keeping your money there, and see if you have to have a certain amount in the account at all times (this is called a minimum balance).
- Buy a savings bond. Savings bonds are something that you can buy or that you can ask for as a gift. A savings bond is purchased through the government and it's something you keep for a long time. Here are some things to know about savings bonds:
- The entire time you have the savings bond (20 years, 30 years, etc.) it is collecting a fixed rate of interest (remember, interest is extra money paid to you based on the amount you have in the savings bond).
- If you wait long enough to cash the savings bond, it will be worth what you put in plus all the interest it has earned. This is a great long-term savings option. You can start saving for college this way!
- Make saving a challenge. If saving seems boring, compete with your siblings or your friends, and see how much you can save in a certain amount of time. Let the winner have a free ice cream cone or another small treat.
Don't forget to take some of your money out of savings once in a while to spend it. If you put all of your money in savings all the time and never do anything with it, you may start to hate saving. Treat yourself to something special every now and then so that you remember why you save money in the first place!
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military life to managing their social lives, saving money and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!